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row; if I can now and then penetrate through the gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make my reader more in good humour with his fellow beings and himself, surely, surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain.
[The following modicum of local history was lately put into my hands by an odd-looking old gentleman in a small brown wig and snuff-coloured coat, with whom I became acquainted in the course of one of my tours of observation through the centre of that great wilderness the City. I confess that I was a little dubious at first, whether it was not one of those apocryphal tales often passed off upon inquiring travellers like myself; and which have brought our general character for veracity into such unmerited reproach. On making proper inquiries, however, I have received the most satisfactory assurances of the author's probity; and, indeed, have been told that he is actually engaged in a full and particular account of the very interesting region in which he resides ; of which the following may be considered merely as a foretaste.]
What I write is most true * I have a whole booke of cases lying by me, which if I should sette foorth, some grave auntients (within the hearing of Bow bell) would be out of charity with me.
In the centre of the great City of London lies a small neighbourhood, consisting of a cluster of narrow streets and courts, of
very venerable and debilitated houses, which goes by the name of LITTLE BRITAIN. Christ Church School and St Bartholomew's Hospital bound it on the west; Smithfield and Long Lane on the north; Aldersgate Street, like an arm of the sea, divides it from the eastern part of the city; whilst the yawning gulf of Bull-andMouth Street separates it from Butcher Lane, and the regions of New-Gate. Over this little territory, thus bounded and designated, the